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Maxi Töpf-Wilensky

Maxi conducted research in Particle Physics using novel machine learning techniques to aid in the potential discovery of a new particle in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Selfie of a student on a roof top over looking the city in the sun

Tell us why you wanted to undertake a global research placement.

My motivation for undertaking a global internship stemmed from my desire to explore a new culture whilst gaining meaningful professional experience. When searching for opportunities abroad, it was my intention to travel to a country hosting universities producing high quality research, as well as the country itself being rich in history.

What kind of impact did the placement have on your future plan?

I benefitted from the opportunity to conduct research in Particle Physics using novel machine learning techniques to aid in the potential discovery of a new particle. Aside from experiencing academic life at the university and being impressed by the investigations taking place across a wide range of fields, I also very much enjoyed the opportunity to travel around a country with a very ancient history. Thus, living in Tel Aviv allowed me to see first hand not only why Israel is known as the Start Up Nation and travel to the Jewish biblical places of the Negev desert, Akko, Safed, and Jerusalem. Visiting these places, and other ancient Israeli, Roman, and Greek archaeological sites, as well as pieces of Crusader, Ottoman, British, and even Napoleonian history truly enabled me to experience a culturally rich and diverse country, and hence made my global internship experience truly fulfilling.” 

“During my time at Tel Aviv University, I joined one of the Particle Physics teams of the university’s Physics and Astronomy department, and was supervised by one of their professors, who is a member of the Belle Collaboration in Japan. Their work involved making use of a new machine learning architecture to help calculate the branching fraction of the B+ → X(3872) K+ decay, and thus help determine the properties of the possibly new X(3872) particle.  I was involved in optimizing the performance of the architectures being implemented by the group to improve signal versus background separation, as well as designing and programming new ones using Python’s PyTorch machine learning library. Finally, I had the great opportunity of presenting my findings at a symposium attended by professors and students at the university.” 

Top tips for interning in Tel-Aviv

Tel Aviv is full of fascinating museums, beautiful beaches, and also has the oldest port still in use in the world i.e. Jaffa port. One can also easily travel from Tel Aviv to Haifa, Jerusalem, Safed, Akko, and Caesarea with the train, or drive south to the Negev dessert where the dead sea is.